By Robert Morales
Three and a half years ago, in March 2008, Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) fought his heart out against Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) for the second time. After earning a draw against Pacquiao in May 2004, Marquez was certain he had beaten him in the rematch.
But Pacquiao won a split decision, sparking a tantrum by Marquez and his team in the post-fight news conference at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. By all accounts it was a close fight and Marquez and Golden Boy Promotions - then his promoter - acted like Marquez dominated Pacquiao.
Marquez is 38 while Pacquiao is just 32, and their two previous fights came at featherweight and super featherweight, respectively. Pacquiao since has fought and won as high as junior middleweight. Marquez never has been successful above lightweight, unless you count a victory over someone named Likar Ramos at 138 pounds - three over the lightweight limit - in July.
Top Rank's Bob Arum, who is promoting this fight, scoffs at anyone who thinks this is not a potentially terrific fight.
"I think you have to be objective and what most people realize is that Marquez creates a problem for Manny, which he hasn't demonstrated yet that he can solve," Arum said. "I mean, Marquez is one of the great counterpunchers of our time and that style suits Marquez when he fights an aggressive fighter like Manny Pacquiao.
"So the question is, can Manny solve this counterpunching style of Marquez or will he have the same difficulties he's had in the previous two fights?"